By Fazlinaiem Ghulamriza and Arslan Jumaniyazov
For everybody’s surprise, George W. Bush avoided making any references to Iraq in his second Inaugural Address. Perhaps, Bush’s speechwriters found it inappropriate to call the attention for the catastrophic consequences of illegal invasion of that country. But even more striking was the total avoidance of the words “terrorism” and “war on terror”--a pretext upon which the unlawful invasion of Iraq was based. Given the fact that the war on “terror” has been the principal justification for virtually every action taken by the Bush administration, which includes massive military build-up ($450 billion in 2004 according to NY Times), curtailing US citizens’ constitutional rights, invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and possible “preventive” wars against Iran and North Korea in the future, the omission of “war on terror” was extraordinarily surprising. Instead, Bush uttered the words “freedom” and “liberty” 27 and 15 times accordingly. However, many commentators found Bush’s Inaugural Address with deadly seriousness and as a possible sign of massive escalation of military operations around the world.
After the introductory statement, Bush again demonstrated his astonishingly poor knowledge of history, which becomes obvious if some clearing parentheses are added to his words: “At this second gathering, our duties are defined not by the words I use [freedom is on the march], but by the history we have seen together [300 overt and 1,000 covert operations around the world in the 20th century]. For a half a century, America defended our own freedom by standing watch on distant borders [such as bombing 23 countries]. After the shipwreck of communism came years of relative quiet [civil war in Afghanistan], years of repose [for the relatives of over 500,000 children died in Iraq and a million killed in Rwanda], years of sabbatical [from peace for former Yugoslavia]. And then there came a day of fire [unexpected, unprovoked].” Or consider the following: “From the day of our founding, we have proclaimed that every man and woman on this earth has rights, and dignity, and matchless value.” Forget about a century of brutal institutionalization of slavery and another century of disenfranchisement of African-Americans, and genocidal extermination of Native Americans. This is a sheer vainglory and important to mention because Bush is referring to US involvement in mass killings in Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia--to name a few--and supporting tyrants such as fascist Augusto Pinochet or general Suharto who between 1975-1978 exterminated one-third of the entire population of East Timor, as “defending” US freedom “by standing watch on distant borders.”
Following the amorphous description of US history, Bush identified the policy of the United States. “America’s vital interests,” he said, perhaps referring to the pursuit of global dominance and control of world resources “and our deepest beliefs [which includes a “crusade” against the Middle East] are now one.” As an example of “vital interests,” Bush mentioned “the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements” such as supporting terrorist forces like Contras in Nicaragua and death squads throughout Central and Latin America, especially during the Reagan era. Another example would be, as he ostentatiously mentioned, America “will encourage reform in other governments” such as deposing democratically elected Muhammad Mossadeq and restoring the tyrannical monarchy of Riza Shah Pakhlevi in Iran. “By making clear that success” in American relations “will require the decent treatment of their own people” like that by CIA’s child SAVAK, which in 1975 decently achieved the level of having the worst human rights records in the world according to Amnesty International. To strengthen his duplicitous statements, Bush said, “My most solemn duty is to protect this nation and its people from further attacks and emerging threats” ironically by creating more hatred and terrorism around the world. To further support his hypocritical messages, Bush continued in his cant expressions: “America will not impose our own style of government on the unwilling.” One wonders what the Bush Administration is trying to do in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Speaking about “freedom” and “liberty,” Bush promised to give his “fellow Americans greater freedom from want and fear” by scaring them with mushroom-cloud-like fabrications (weapons of mass DIStraction, another real WMD). Yet he clearly identified the meaning of “freedom”: “Freedom, by its nature, must be chosen, and defended by citizens, and sustained by the rule of law and the protection of minorities.” However, it’s not clear how to understand the actions undertaken by the US, which includes defining “freedom” for others, breaching international laws so as to getting condemned by the World Court, ignoring the voices of millions around the world not to illegally invade other countries for the benefit of US corporations, and perpetual support of brutal oppression of Palestinian minority by the State of Israel. “The survival of liberty in our land,” Bush said “increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands.” That might explain his willingness to spread “freedom” around the world as he also says, “The best hope for peace in our [plutocratic] world is the expansion of [Churchillian] freedom in all the world.” But the question is how to expand this “freedom” in all the world. Having the image of recently flattened Fallujah and the devastated Iraq in general, hardly anyone in any part of the world under any “tyranny” would welcome this “liberty” and “freedom.”
As it’s mentioned, the principal reason for justifying the imperialist ambitions of the United States has been “war on terror.” However, the world-wide exposure of blatant lies by the Bush administration and the failure to find either weapons of mass destruction or a link between Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaeda make it harder to further justify their actions under the veneer of “war on terror.” Therefore, Bush redefined his doctrine by replacing “war on terror” with a far more abstract goal: “war on tyranny.” For this reason, many commentators found Bush’s Second Inaugural Address even scarier than his State of the Union address because it’s no longer needed for the US to feel endangered that one or another “rogue” state may develop WMD. Rather, it’s enough for the US to identify a country that it chooses as “tyranny” in order to justify another “sanctions of mass destruction” or a military intervention. “War on Tyranny” clearly targets certain Arab countries, which besides their oil-rich resources, are a threat to the nuclear monopoly of Israel--the 51st state of the USA, as William Blum put it--in the Middle East. Another target is a group of “outlaw regimes” that do not welcome the American Hegemony. In short, Bush sent a global message that no country in the world under “tyranny” is safe from US military intervention.
Of course, this is not to say that Bush’s Inaugural Address was all about bellicose and deceitful messages. He made several statements hardly anyone would disagree with. For example, at the end of his speech Bush said, “When our Founders declared a new order of the ages, when soldiers died in wave upon wave for a union based on liberty, when citizens marched in peaceful outrage under the banner Freedom Now [Stop Killing People in Third World Countries] they were acting on an ancient hope that is meant to be fulfilled.” Nice words! Hopefully, Mr. Bush will appreciate more in the future the peaceful demonstrations like this as well as those protesting against a possible strike on Iran during his Inaugural Address.